WISCONSIN (WFRV) - We're nearly half way through Wisconsin's nine day gun deer season and, so far, more than 134,000 deer have been harvested statewide.
According to the DNR, deer harvest numbers are up 19% over last year and registration numbers increased in every region.
"So I think people are having a lot of fun out there in the woods," Cathy Stepp, Wisconsin DNR Secretary.
Stepp called the first half of the season amazing. That's due in part to a more family-friendly approach by hunters. She said license sales for women are up 30% and there are also more youth hunters year.
"We've been saying for a long time now at the DNR that when the women and youth get engaged, it becomes much more of a family event," said Stepp. "and really family is what deer hunting is all about in Wisconsin. It's part of our DNA."
In northeast Wisconsin, hunters have bagged 16,861 bucks so far, and 29,829 deer total. That's an increase of nearly 4,000 deer over last season. Stepp said the milder temperatures could have had more hunters hitting the woods, however, the conditions weren't ideal for everyone.
"There are some folks that love to have that tracking snow instead, and we'll see, maybe we'll end up getting some of that before the end of it," she added.
Unfortunately, there's also been an increase in hunting fatalities across the state. While no one was killed during the hunt last year, Wisconsin has already had four hunting-related deaths this year, including one man from Green Bay.
"Any injuries or fatalities are obviously a tragedy and these are the reasons we try to stress safety ahead of the hunt," said Stepp. "We try remind people fire arm safety rules, which are pretty basic, but sometimes things happen."
The DNR is also encouraging hunters to interact with them on social media. They are on both Facebook and Twitter.